IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Old Street revamp is fast-tracked after cyclist crash

Contractors could work six-day weeks on roundabout overhaul to help get long-awaited plans completed six months early

24 August, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

The scene of the crash at Old Street in which cyclist Sarah Doone was seriously injured

CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed news that the dramatic Old Street roundabout overhaul will be brought forward, after a serious crash which led to a cyclist having her leg amputated.

Transport for London is proposing that its contractors will work six-day weeks with extended hours to help get the long-awaited plans completed six months early – by autumn 2020.

The redesign will close the north-west arm and create segregated cycle lanes.

Donnachadh McCarthy, co-founder of the Stop Killing Cyclists group, had told the Tribune that it was “shocking” the work had not yet started, despite a public consultation finishing more than three years ago.

A report in May 2015 said TfL was planning to start enabling works for the scheme in early 2016.

Yet, TfL said this summer that enabling works would begin in 2019, because of “small changes to the design of one of the new entrances to Old Street station”.

Sarah Doone was seriously injured in the collision with a cement mixer at the roundabout

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called an urgent meeting with TfL last month after cyclist Sarah Doone was seriously injured in a crash with a cement mixer at the roundabout.

The transport authority has now confirmed that preparatory works will start in November, with the main works beginning in January.

Campaigner Mr McCarthy welcomed the speeded-up plans, but added: “However, one junction is simply not enough. TfL must speed up the painfully slow dangerous junction programme.”

A spokesman for campaign group Cycle Islington said: “We’re glad TfL and the Mayor are treating this project with the urgency it deserves.

“It’s now vital that TfL and the contractor ensure that people on bicycles can use the junction and any diversions safely and conveniently during the works.”

Caroline Russell, Green councillor for Highbury East and London Assembly member, is “glad” the plans have been brought forward.

“It’s all very well having plans but they need to be built,” she added. “Simply having plans won’t save lives or prevent any injuries.”

Claudia Webbe, the Town Hall’s transport chief, said: “We are very pleased work will begin later this year, and are committed to working with the Mayor of London, TfL and Hackney Council on this project and to keep disruption to a minimum.”

TfL and the Mayor’s office came under further pressure this week during a mass protest in Holborn after Dr Peter Fisher, one of the Queen’s doctors who lived in Highgate, died in a crash.

An artist’s impression of how the remodelled Old Street junction will look

He was the fourth cyclist to die at the Holborn accident blackspot. Ms Doone had her left leg amputated after the crash at Old Street on July 25.

As a freelance technical operator, she will have no income while out of work.

Her friends have launched a fundraising page to support her.

The driver of the cement mixer stopped at the scene and is assisting officers with inquiries. No arrests have been made.

Calls were made for urgent temporary measures to be put in place after the July crash.

Plans to make the Old Street contractors work longer hours are subject to approval by Islington and Hackney councils. A planning application is due to be submitted by TfL in September.

A spokeswoman for TfL said: “Our traffic management team will work to reduce the impact of the construction on cyclists, pedestrians, buses and other traffic.

“They will also ensure that, while any physical work on the roundabout is taking place, there will be protection for people walking and cycling, which will include segregated cycle lanes 24/7 during the main construction phase in 2019.”

To donate to Ms Doone’s fund, visit www.gofundme.com/friends-of-sarah

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